Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Pencil Grip, Inc. - A Review

I have a confession to make, and it's kind of a strange one. I love writing implements. I mean, I love
them. Pens, pencils, erasers...all different kinds, colors, and styles. I cannot get enough of them. My pencil case is bursting with them, with the zipper protesting as I try to close it. Even so,  I  don't think that I could stop collecting anytime that I wanted to, lol. For that reason alone, I was pretty happy to do a review for The Pencil Grip, Inc.. Our family received two products, the 3 Step Grip Development Training Kit , and the Ultra Safe Scissors for free, in exchange for my honest review.

As you can see from the photo above, there are three "Grips" in the pencil kit. The varied colors and designs are not simply for the aesthetic value. Each color represents one of three steps. Steps, you ask? What do you mean? Well, I'm glad you asked! Let me tell you about them.

The Green Grip is designed for children working on Step 1. This is the Crossover Grip, used in the training stage. It has what looks like a cute little superhero cape that rests over the child's fingers, to maintain correct positioning. You'll notice that with its design, it provides little to no room for smaller fingers to slip out of place.

Step 2, or , the Red Grip, is the transition grip, also called the Pinch Grip. The "cape" is diminished, but still has "wings" to allow the child to watch their grip, as well as maintain placement. There is slightly more room to wiggle.

Last but not least, is the Blue Grip, or The Pencil Grip Original. This is good for anyone and everyone. Once a child has mastered finger placement, this grip offers the ability to write in comfort, while still keeping finger placement in proper alignment. As an added bonus, all of these are both latex and phthalate free.

It's good to note that  these are only suggested steps, you can choose which Grip feels the most comfortable to use.

Now, part two of our review products, The Ultra Safety Scissors.

Designed for ages 3 and up, these really are the ultimate safety scissors. Looking at the photo above, you'll notice a clear plastic shield that goes pretty much from blade to blade. This is designed to be permanent, and prevents your child from cutting themselves. There is a very thin opening, where paper is inserted to be cut. The blades are also blunt, and there is a small yellow spring. This spring is adjustable. You can move it down, so that it will automatically pop open after cutting, which is helpful for little ones just beginning to learn how to use their hands to open and close scissors. It can also lay flat, for those that have mastered this skill.

Our thoughts on both of these products:

Our household is past the preschool age, by about 10 years now, so my girls have established their pencil grip. But like me, they were happy to give them a try and offer their opinion. We started with the Pencil Grips.

The girls liked the soft, squishy texture, as well as the individual designs. Next came the actual pencil gripping. They used them in order, naturally, and liked the little cape.

They found the first grip awkward, and without the freedom to move their fingers, but that is the idea of its design- to keep new writers in proper position.

They found the second grip a little more comfy, and less restrictive.

Now the third one was the clear winner. The girls found it comfortable, but allows enough movement to feel unrestricted. I would add that I think the reason that they find the first two awkward are due to the fact that they are established in their pen and pencil gripping capabilities. These should be great with children that are learning the fine motor skills necessary in writing.

As for the Ultra Safety Scissors, the general thoughts are the same. These would be helpful for preschoolers learning to use those muscles needed to open and close scissors, and the adjustable spring allows for progression. It also prevents not only accidental clipping of fingers, but unfortunate haircuts, lol. That clear shield that protects also has a downsize however. It takes some solid fine motor skills to fit a piece of paper into that thin opening, and that could be a challenge.

Overall, these look like great products for your younger students, and I would encourage you to give them a try! See you all next time!

Find them on Amazon:

The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Ultra Safety Scissors

Check them out on social media:




Check out what other crew members thought of these products here .

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

The theme of today's Wordless Wednesday is "A Day At The Fair". This weekend, we had a great time visiting an Old English Faire, complete with a tour of a castle. Enjoy our pics!

The "Queen" holding Court.

                                                      And there she is, Her Highness.

                                                                   The servants' hall

                                                                  Stronghold Castle.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Well, this post is really a day late, and at the moment, I cannot think of an illiteration for Thursday that sounds as good as Wordless Wednesday. Getting back to the post, our family continues to enjoy exploring our new city, and the surrounding area. This weekend, we participated in a local farm stroll. In case you 've never heard of such a thing, several farms choose a day to offer tours, samples, and an informative glimpse into their work. It was a lot of fun, and we met some wonderful people. But since this was supposed to be wordless, here are some photos from our travels. Enjoy.

Jeremy Camp - THE ANSWER (A Review)

Raise your hand if you're a Jeremy Camp fan! Hey, me too! So being a fan, I was happy to receive a copy of his new CD, THE ANSWER, for free, in exchange for an honest review.
From the first song, I knew that this was going to be a great album. There's a good chance that you have already heard the first track, Word of Life. In my opinion, it's Jeremy Camp at his best.
I've always been a fan of his rich vocals, strong melodies, and uplifting message.

There are many Christian artists that I love to listen to, and they all proclaim Christ. What stands out to me in Jeremy Camp's music, is his ability to strike a balance between rocking out, and reverence. I mean, the songs make me want to move, but there is worship going on simultaneously.
Even in an uptempo track like My Defender or The Answer, the testimony that he brings to the lyrics is unbelievable. Seriously, I was driving down the highway as I first listened to this album, and if I could have lifted both hands in praise to God, I would have. I'm grateful that Mr. Camp shares his gift with us!

I can already choose at least a couple of songs here that I could see being incorporated into many church services. At the very least, this compilation ministered to me personally, and I will be keeping it in regular rotation. I'm confident that the majority of you would agree. I hope that you'll check it out, because I give this two thumbs up.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ordering Your Private World (Revised and Updated) - A Review

Ordering Your Private World. That was the phrase that grabbed my attention when the opportunity for this review came my way. Like so many others, order, in both my public and private life, often seems elusive. I can't tell you how many planners, calendars, and other organizational tools, have found their way into my shopping cart. Oh, my intentions are good, and I often keep up at least a semblance of neatness and harmony. never lasts.

I don't think anyone would disagree that our society tends to focus on the superficial aspects of life. Christians are not exempt from that way of thinking. When I open my email in the morning, it's common to see several various planners being advertised. They claim that "this" organizational resource will be the only one you ever need.

Why oh why is it such a struggle to get there? The answer is as close as the book's title (a book by the way, that I received for free, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.)
While we may assume that when a person appears to have it all together on the outside, the heart often reveals a different story.
Ordering Your Private World challenges the reader to consider that what needs to be transformed is the internal world, the private world.

Gordon MacDonald started this book with a preface which provided the back story for the material. It's powerful, and it's relatable. He tells of the instance where he "hit a wall", and God commanded MacDonald's attention. For me, it offered a promise of hope. If an important man like Gordon MacDonald was at a point where, in spite of all of his outward signs of togetherness, he was forced to recalibrate, maybe I could as well.

This book is rich with biblical wisdom, offered from the viewpoint of one who has walked the road of superficial order. Using personal anecdotes, colorful word pictures, and examples straight from the Bible, MacDonald takes you on a journey to attain a change of heart, a spiritual order.
He contends that it is only when a person deals with the chaos of the heart, and realigns with God's Word, will order be reached and sustained.

This updated version features a study guide at the back of the book. Use it for personal devotions, or with a small group.

This is a fantastic book. I appreciate the fact that the content within came from MacDonald's personal  journey. Someone compared his tone  as that of a father's, and I agree. It is an honest account pointing the reader to rest in God, where real order is found. My husband has put in his dibs to be the next in line to read it.

As far as I'm concerned, this book should be on every believer's personal bookshelf.
Until next time, go get a copy!

Find it at Amazon

Find it at Barnes and Noble

Friday, September 29, 2017

Brave Beauty by Lynn Cowell - A Review

If you have visited my blog before, it won't take you long to figure out that I love to review books and homeschool resources. It really is a privilege, and fun! My daughters are also big review fans, and its easy to see why; they are often the recipients of some pretty cool products, including this book, Brave Beauty by Lynn Cowell, which I received free in exchange for my honest review.

Written for the tween girl audience, more specifically ages 8-12, this is a devotional book divided into 100 mini chapters. Lynn Cowell has a great way of speaking "tween language". She is relatable and helpful. No condescending to the younger set here.

Each devotion has a title theme, for example, Being A Part Of God's Family, Salvation etc.. She begins with a story or example to get the objective across. Then follows the section called Becoming Brave, which asks a question, and leaves a space for the reader to write out their thoughts. The chapter or lesson ends with a Courageous Call, which is a prayer to live out God's call. The lessons tackle subjects that this age can identify with, including bullying, peer pressure, going against the crowd, and choices.

Brave Beauty can be read daily, weekly, whatever works well with your schedule. The end of the book contains a topical index, to help your tween look up specific subjects.

This is a beautiful book. It is appealing with bright, colorful foil d├ęcor on the hardcover. The pages themselves have pretty, muted, illustrations of flowers, nice for the girly girls.
More important than the looks however, the text is friendly, practical, and full of biblical wisdom for tweens (and even grown ups).

The arrival of Brave Beauty was timely for our family, as there were several topics that came up for one of my daughters. We had talked about biblical ways to deal with these situations, but there is something about someone outside of the family coming alongside with the same principals that can help solidify a point. That was the case for us, when after reading a particular devotion, my daughter proclaimed, "That's what you said to do Mom!" We're all familiar with the term "Girl Power", but this books puts the emphasis on God's Power.

As for my daughter, she gives her seal of approval. From the pretty cover and pages, the encouraging principles presented in each chapter, and the write in sections, Brave Beauty is a winner for her.

We're definitely keeping this copy for ourselves, but I know we'll be purchasing this book for gifts very soon. Maybe you should get a copy too!

Brave Beauty by Lynn Cowell

Find it on Amazon 

Find it at Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

We've been exploring the various sites, fests, and attractions in our new city. This weekend, we had a really good time at an Alpaca farm and mill. Here are a few pics.